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“Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?”

Jeanette Winterson is a British born writer who wrote the best-selling and award-winning book “Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit” which is a contemporary story of a woman coming to terms with her sexuality.”Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?” is not a sequel but a complementary book that reveals the author’s attempt to come to terms with her childhood and adult life. Read more »


The Champagne Mango

Twenty-six years ago when I moved to Florida, I tasted my first mango and although the sweet, juicy taste was sensational, the peeling of the skin, the huge pit, and the stringy texture required patience (which I don’t have a lot of) and quite a bit of effort for a relatively small amount of fruit. Why couldn’t mangos be like oranges whose skin is easy to cut off? Or, apples with little pits and lots of fruit? Read more »


Do You Prefer To Be Called A MILF or a Grandmother?

A few weeks ago I was speeding through the parking lot in my 6 cylinder station wagon (which my daughter thinks is the most uncool car in the world) when I saw the big brown UPS truck come around the corner. I quickly pulled over, jumped out of the driver’s seat and ran over to ask if there was a package for Paddock. There were 2 UPS guys in the front seat , both of whom looked to be in their 20’s, one obviously training the other. Read more »


“F in Exams”

My daughter was in a French school from 1st – 4th grade and a bilingual French/English school from 5th – 8th grade which used an International Baccalaureate grading system of 1-7, where 1 is the lowest score, 4 is passing, and 7 is a perfect score. When she came back to the US to attend a high school school where the primary language was English,  she had to abandon the metric system of measurements, adjust to the language, and adopt a letter grading system which led to this conversation: Read more »


Effie’s Oatcakes

Years ago, while traveling through England, I discovered oatcakes, a British treat that is a cross between a cookie and a cracker.  Not as sweet as a typical American cookie (which the Brits call biscuits) and not as thin as a cracker, the oatcake is a crunchy thick wafer made primarily of flour, oats, butter, sugar, and salt.  The “cake” has a slight sweetness with a buttery taste that is delicious plain or with cheese. Read more »


Fat Toad Farm Caramel Sauce

Several years ago, I tasted the creamiest yogurt ever and set upon figuring out how a small Molkerei (dairy) in Switzerland could make a yogurt with the proper balance of three major traits:  smooth texture, big flavor, and a slight tangy aftertaste.  I tried to replicate that yogurt about a dozen times with my yogurt maker using every type of milk before I gave up and decided to ask the owner of the Molkerie in Switzerland how they make their yogurt.  The owner told me the secret to making really great yogurt lies with the cows: they need to graze and be well cared for.  I realized I would never be able to reproduce a really great yogurt unless I had my own cow, and that was pretty much out of the question but the message stayed with me. Read more »


“Left Neglected”

Lisa Genova‘s second novel, “Left Neglected” is the fictional story of a young woman who experiences a severe brain injury after a car accident that resulted from her taking her eyes off the road to search for her cell phone.  Eight days after the accident, Sarah Nickerson wakes up in a hospital, forever changed. Read more »


Eleni’s Easter Cookies

Easter is just a few weeks away – Sunday, April 8th – so thoughts of jelly beans, malted eggs, and chocolate bunnies in a basket lined with green cellophane grass are on my mind.  Instead of limiting an Easter basket to candy and chocolate, consider adding a few beautifully decorated sugar cookies from Eleni’s this year. Read more »


New Jersey’s Gas Pump Problem

New Jersey has always enjoyed favored status with me because I grew up in the northeastern part of the state – an area known for farmland and as a bedroom community for those who worked in New York but wanted to escape the intensity of life in an urban city. Through the years, numerous jokes about New Jersey – the accent, the “joyzey shore,” the Cherry Hill water tower – have been repeated along with the question that always perplexed me: “What exit are you from?” as if New Jersey was a narrow state where all residents could claim an exit off the New Jersey Turnpike. Read more »


“By Nightfall”

Michael Cunningham, author of “The Hours” (which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1998) published his newest book “By Nightfall” in 2010. The story takes place in New York City and although the summary on the back of the book states the story is about Peter and Rebecca Harris, a couple in living in Manhattan, the real story is about Peter Harris. Throughout the entire book, the reader is privy to every thought Peter has to the effect of feeling like the reader is in the head of the main character. Read more »